Netflix Japan recently released a short anime film called Dog & The Boy. What sets this short apart. The content of this mini-movie matters less than the context — as the company boasted in a tweet, the film was created was AI-generated backgrounds, a choice that they claim was specifically made to address a "labor shortage."
As an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which has a labor shortage, we used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video cuts!
Now, I'm no CEO of a multinational media company, but I'm fairly certain that "labor shortage" in this context refers not to an absence of labor, but rather, Netflix's willingness to pay for that labor. As much as robots as typically expected to come for our jobs (and likely union bust), I certainly didn't expect the AI assault on artistic labor to arrive at this immediately.
Speaking of shortages, the company also recently addressed its paying customer shortage by updating its policies to include new details about they define a single "household" — that is, the group of people who, according to the company, can use the same account to host multiple profiles.
A Netflix account is meant to be shared in one household (people who live in the same location with the account owner). People who are not in your household will need to sign up for their own account to watch Netflix.
The main issue here is how this definition is both vague and limiting. The "same location" line implies that one member of a family can't use Netflix while, say, traveling for work. Or what if they have a vacation home? Or they're going through a divorce — you want to force kids to struggle with conflicting Netflix accounts, in addition to the stress of family separation?
The other issue here is that, as long as Netflix is taking shortcuts for a so-called "labor shortage," then frankly, it's only fair for users dealing with a location-togetherness shortage or a traditional family definition shortage to accommodate for the content shortage in their lives by sharing their accounts across households.
Netflix Made an Anime Using AI Due to a 'Labor Shortage,' and Fans Are Pissed [Samantha Cole / Vice]
Confirmed: Netflix Unveils First Details of New Anti-Password Sharing Measures [David Satin / The Streamable]